Neighbours outraged by Lacovia tower blocks plan

| 22/01/2020 | 167 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): A planning application by Lacovia for three 10-storey tower blocks on the current Seven Mile Beach site has caused outrage among wealthy neighbours on the famous stretch of beach, who feel the proposed redevelopment is too big for the location and will cause overcrowding around their luxury beachfront homes. Bronte Developers have applied to build 96 apartments in three towers, each of which will be ten storeys high, as well as auxiliary buildings and a whopping 13 swimming pools.

The application and objections were due to be heard by the Central Planning Authority on Wednesday, with most of those objections based on concerns about the size, aesthetics and the increase in the number of people that such a development would bring to the area. The planning department, itself, also noted that the height, scale and massing as well as a proposed 8ft wall and the objectors’ concerns required an appearance by the developers.

In its submissions on the application, the Department of Environment fell short of requiring an EIA after conducting a screening exercise, even though the property fronts onto a marine park.

But in its role on behalf of the National Conservation Council it noted the need for the developers to adhere to agreed measures to protect the nesting turtles on the beach in front of the site, additional coastal setbacks in preparation for climate change and sea level rises and the inclusion of native species in the landscaping scheme.

The DoE also noted that, as the proposed but higher development will be set within the footprint of the existing 3-storey buildings, it may block daylight, sunlight and views from adjacent condos. A high-level assessment of the visual impact on the neighbouring units should be considered as well as the noise and vibration from the cumulative effects from additional 10-storey developments on Seven Mile Beach, the DoE said.

Some of the owners of the units that will be affected are clearly furious by the proposed plan, which, if approved, will replace the current Lacovia complex with a far bigger development that will change the nature of the neighbourhood. Objectors are also outraged by the proposed 13 swimming pools, the number of guests that the complex would hold and the impact on the marine environment as well as the the beach

“13 swimming pools! Really, who needs 13 swimming pools?” one asked in his letter of objection. “Especially when you have the most beautiful sea in the world right out front. This is a large influx of people in an area not really big enough to contain that many chairs / umbrellas. The owners will be packed in like sardines… It is sad to me that you are allowing giant corporations to come in and build these completely out of context buildings. The beach is beautiful because it is not overwhelmed by skyscrapers.”

Another objector described the proposed project as a “monstrosity” on a quiet beach and “way out of proportion with the rest of the buildings on that stretch of beach”.

Meanwhile, well known development law firm, Jackson Law, has also submitted an extensive letter of objection on behalf of the Strata at Watercolours, the existing 10-storey building next to the Lacovia site.

The firm detailed numerous issues that he claimed contravene the planning law. They noted that in this case the financial backing and viability of the project has not been disclosed and that the project constitutes an over-development of the site. They also noted the absence of an application to demolish the existing condos.

“Our clients are concerned that there has been no application for planning permission for demolition of the existing development,” Jackson Law stated. “Whilst it may have been conveniently presumed that an application to build a new building or buildings on the same property somehow carries with it the inherent permission to demolish existing structures, that clearly cannot be the case.”

The proposed redevelopment is estimated to cost around $180 million and is expected to be the first in many proposed redevelopments in Seven Mile Beach which could all now, according to the law, be up to ten storeys high, which is giving much wider concern that Seven Mile Beach will be transformed in such away that it will make the once uniquely beautiful beach no different front the multiple overdeveloped of beachfront resorts in Florida.

See the CPA Agenda for Wednesday 22 January here


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Category: development, Local News

Comments (167)

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  1. MR says:

    Watercolours afraid to be out-done by lil ole Lacovia next door.

  2. Anonymous says:

    time to get AL T odd the board

  3. Anonymous says:

    I used to own a canal front property in Governor’s Harbour, the first few years were bliss. But the SMB area has become so bogged with development and traffic noise I sold and moved to the Red Bay area. Nice and quiet….totally different from SMB!

    Once I get home I actually feel like I live on a Caribbean Island, and not a rendition of Miami Beach.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks mckeeva

  5. Anonymous says:

    This planning board has no regard to the existing character of an area, or the right to privacy and the right to light. They are destroying existing areas that people invested in years ago with covenants and the like and are damaging the whole island.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      I am afraid it will get worse. Certain developers are actively contacting strata corporations along the beach to do deals, including Villas of the Galleon, Islands Club and Plantana.
      The politicians of the 60/70s made it clear they did not want condos height more than the Caserinas. They did not want Miami Beach. Sadly subsequent governments including the infamous Bush Government changed all that.
      Thus Seven Mile Beach will never be the same. The almighty dollar won.

    • Anonymous says:

      2:47 Yes once I am in CLOSE the GATE!

  6. Anonymous says:

    As a Caymanian I am confuse, can somebody explain why the most EXPENSIVE PLACE in the WORLD TO LIVE have an INFLUX of DEVELOPMENT Problem?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hold on a Minute so Caymanians sold Caymanian Land.( and made a lot of Money) Developers then apply to the Caymanian Planning board who approve the Caymanian development. And then the Caymanians moan about their birthright etc Am I missing something

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. A heart.

    • Anonymous says:

      No 2:11, you are spot on and there are still more than a few Caymanians around living in shacks on beachfront plots dreaming of the day someone comes along to offer them $1million for the land. It’s all about money.

  8. Anonymous says:

    There’s still a legal question over how the strata law was changed a few years ago that enabled all these re-developments, it used to be 100% or 95%+ or something that was required before any of this awful re-development stuff could happen, but amazingly a few realtors, politicians and developers managed somehow by some miracle of fate to ram thru that change and incredibly, the very same ones keep benefiting from it! Who’d have thought?!
    anyway – someone wrote 2 wrongs do not make a right, and that is 100% for sure. The watercolors folks have every right to be steaming angry over this, its going to completely devalue their mega investments, and that runs the risk of them leaving Cayman which is actually a bad thing. The Lacovia development is not going to bring in anybody new, its a play for air b n b for the rich. It’s also incredibly ugly but thats a personal taste i guess.

    with rumors of some 10 storey developments heading into planning now for the SMB area north of the kimpton towards cemetery beach, we are at such a tipping point in Cayman, the people need to march on the planners and CIG just as they have with the port and stop this runaway train.

    as to the 50 storey phallus from the styro vultures? good luck

    this country has been sold out to a very, very small % of the population and they don’t give a sh*t what anything ends up looking like or how gridlock will get worse or cost of living or any of it – they just dont care, they’re all making millions, they have their homes all over the world, and they live in a parallel universe to 99% of us here…and we’ve let it happen by voting back in the same politicians cycle after cycle.

    only the younger generations can stop this. there is an election coming up, we need new faces fast.

  9. Anonymous says:

    In the absence of transparency as to financing, one does have to wonder at the money laundering possibilities of developments like these. Are the Cayman authorities asking the right questions? I doubt it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    for people complaining about miami-type development….. maybe should consider moving to the brac.(but i bet they won’t)
    develoment has lead to the success of cayman.
    i would much prefer high rise, modern , sustainable development as opposed to sprawling low rise unsustainability….

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not for you to decide where they want to live.
      Nobody in their right mind would want to live NY style on a Caribbean island. They come here to enjoy their lives, not to live like sardines in a barrel. If they invested in a low rise/density property 20 years ago, forcing them to live (surrounded) in high density/rise environment that blocks and eliminates the very reason they are here: peace, tranquility, sun and beach, the consequences could be dire for the territory. It would send a clear message to future buyers- peace and tranquility not quarantined.

      • Anonymous says:

        Beach Bay comes to mind. My back garden will now be looking at a Ten story. How did it get rezoned and not one notification went out!! The whole room was full of objectors yet it still got runner stamped

      • Anonymous says:

        100%…just look at the monuments (near the top and mid) North West Point Road in West Bay…next to what would be “regular nice” homes these have taken away from the beauty to behold…I get that money talks but the value of money is simply being enforced by Govt…no one or nothing else. #foodforthought

      • Anonymous says:

        7:33 Who gave the GUARANTEE time would stand still!

    • Anonymous says:

      So 6:45, you want to see a new 50 storey building next to where you live? It’s coming.
      That’s your definition of sustainable? You need to do more reading.

  11. Anonymous says:

    existing condo owners compalining about development????
    the hypocrisy is mind boggling…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Have any comments come from NATIONAL CONCRETE or SUPER MIX!

  13. J .A. Roy Bodden says:

    Well ! What a relief the greedy giants are now at one another’s throats fighting for what was once Caymanian’s birthright . Bring on the popcorn …I love this movie.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Pot calling the kettle black? Didn’t people say that the stayover visitor were the people we needed most? Didn’t we virtually tell them we love the stayover more than the cruise ship tourist because they spend more money? Well fools anyone who stays 24 hours a day will spend more. But they don’t need you to help them spend it. They will bring in their own bars and restaurants with their distinct own staff. We already 2/3 foreigners now. They will own their own boat operators and staff. They don’t need you. They will control business they have money. They will say they want professionals. 8 foot walls is just the beginning. Welcome to the upper class. At least the cruise shippers didn’t own anything and they went home after 5pm.

  15. The truth is out there. says:

    Well, it seems the “Ole Boy Network” (AKA— The Lodge) is at it again. This project WILL CARRY ON, it’s too late to stop it.

    Insider information has it the a certain ex LA member held it up until HE got what he wanted. Just ask discreetly those at planning. Also there is several other issues surrounding safety and environmental stuff that has been hid as well.

    HE got a heavy kick back for finally saying yes. The Ombudsman should really, really dig into this one if they got the marbles and aren’t instructed not too, as always.

    But like always, the Lodge will deep six anything negative, gotta support fellow members for the betterment of mankind…….

    Way to go ……. Way To Go buddy……

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well just watch the new wind patterns around these buildings blow away the beach they all after. Greed pure and simple. We need a gentle reminder of where we live!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Boo hoo the poor multi millionaires next door are sad 🙁

    • Anonymous says:

      As will you when SMB is 10 story end to end. But don’t let the bigger picture ruin your joy at the discomfort of the Watercolours elite. Cut your nose off to spite your face.

      • Anonymous says:

        The new planning regs already zoned most of the SMB corridor from pageant beach to Kaboo to allow 10 storeys so end to end is eventually what will be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot. Do you want happy multi millionaires in your country or you just want them to settle then make their lives miserable?

  18. Anonymous says:

    I agree with most of the comments. Watercolours should not have happened. What a nice cozy place it was before. Tourists (especially Europeans) loved it and so did I as a local. We will look like Miami Beach in “no time”. 3 more huge hotels and now LaCovia. People will go to Miami Beach, cheaper. We are losing our unique, beautiful Island. I am heartbroken and so much more to concerned about.

  19. Anonymous says:

    just curious, with traffic bumper to bumper on West Bay road now, did the CPA take this into consideration when approving this? Where are all of these cars going to park..

    It’s going to be literally gridlock once the new Grand Hyatt is built as well..

    Alden, who are we developing for again…

    Killing the golden goose softly and tenderly….

    • Anonymous says:

      Just Face The Facts HOT AIR cannot STOP MONEY.

    • Anonymous says:

      its blatantly obvious that traffic is never considered when these mega-developments are approved. west bay road should be switched to bike/pedestrians only at this stage.

    • Anonymous says:

      The application would have been circulated to National Roads Authority for comments. Check the CPA minutes to see what NRA had to say.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think that you will find that the NRA has one of those proverbial “rubber stamps” just like the CPA does…

        Nothing changes…Check out the make-up of the CPA board, just about everyone of them is in conflict before the papers even come before them

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the new Hilton too.

    • Anonymous says:

      No just fattening it up for some foie gras.

  20. Anonymous says:

    So when Caymanians were complaining about watercolours being too overwhelming we were called complainers and that we’re jealous! I don’t feel sorry for these people one bit! Rich people having rich people problems!

    • Anonymous says:

      So two wrongs make a right…geesh come on Caymanians..stop being crabs in a barrel and start looking out for your country..believe it or not we still have a little people power left..

      • Anonymous says:

        They arent wrong. The planning regulations allow 10 storey on both sites…and up and down SMB strip for that matter. This is just the beginning.

    • Anonymous says:

      How dare they build a 10 storey building next to my 10 storey building! The next thing you know they will be walling off West Bay Road……scratch that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Was thinking the same exact thing. Nobody wanted a 10 story building on SMB to start with.

    • Anonymous says:

      The majority of owners in Lacovia are Caymanians and why shouldn’t they be allowed to redevelop their land the same way the developer of WaterColours developed his site. Simply rich people trying to stop any competition to their ugly building.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Grand Cayman is quickly reaching a critical mass. More development, more people but yet nowhere near enough planning and infrastructure investment. Cayman is going down an irreversible hole. Greed and corruption is rampant and this current government appear happy to exacerbate the problems, not fix them.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Pot meet Kettle.

  23. Anonymous says:

    why can’t the planning department stick to approving what is legally allowed? is someone getting their hands greased or what?

  24. Anonymous says:

    where in the hell are the Members of the Planning Board when this crap is being decided?

    • Anonymous says:

      Having drinks with the developers…Haven’t you seen that gorgeous rubber stamp that AL’T carries around..

    • Anonymous says:

      They dont get invited to the meetings between the Ministry and the developers….just told what to rubber stamp!!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Watercolors is complaining !!!????

    Bwaaahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just have to laugh at the Watercolours people. A good joke on them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually the joke is on the Caymanian people as the marine environment is slowly being destroyed and infrastructure is stretched to breaking point. The folks in Watercolours will be just fine once all the fuss has died down.

        • Anonymous says:

          Developers don’t give a damn about the marine environment. Don’t you understand that fact?

  26. Roger davies says:

    Years ago we got rid of most of the swamp along the West Bay Rd and replaced it with mostly sophisticated low density beachfront apartments with an unrivalled ambience on one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
    Now we seem hell bent on swamping our beach with an endless series of 10 story high density complexes leading to our beloved beach swarming with beachgoers replacing the swarms of mosquitoes we had in the sixties. Not content with this our leaders are going all out to bring in the megaships which will deposit even more humanity on the beach until every square foot is occupied in season.
    Is this really what we want, or do we still want to be an upmarket holiday destination with quality beachfront accommodation, no vendors, and room to enjoy our crystal clear waters.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope will all be fully inclusive just like the overcrowded buffet eating cruise ships! Quantity vs Quality.

  27. More 10 stotey bldgs and Walls = lots of concrete says:

    8 foot wall ??

  28. TT says:

    I would have thought planning would have ok’d on the basis of the new plan being a modern version based on the previous. Why is it allowed to be so monstrous?…I mean other than everyone trying to get their money back, and then some, on the project but at what actual cost?

    Its odd to me that Lacovia residents didn’t like the idea of watercolors but as soon as they have the same opportunity they take it. Urgh the green eyed monster and greed are at play on all sides.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t blame the Lacovia people. They can see what is going on along the beach and they know they cannot fight developers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Also, most former Lacovia owners are snowbirds who only visit & stayed short duration, with their unit in the rental pool. They got to trade their 1970’s condo with an 8 foot ceiling for a gleaming new upscale condo which will be worth millions. I’ll assume the reason this new development is so large, as they had to give former owners theirs back, plus added another entire block to add equity. I can just imagine the realtors selling these would be at this stage salivating at the commissions on the horizon.

        • Anonymous says:

          Plus the aging Lacovia was facing some pretty hefty bills for major building repairs in the short term.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Where are they going to put the debris after they tear this down?

  30. HDB3 says:

    So many possibilities we are missing out on here:

    1. Allow 20 floors, but increased set back from ocean, larger spaces between each consecutive development with public open space for beach access and space for local small vendors to operate

    2. With the larger spaces between each set of tall buildings, we retain and get back our view of the beautiful white sand beaches and the ocean

    3. Increased set backs from the ocean will preserve what little beach we have left and hopefully help in replacement of what we have lost due to buildings being too close to the high water mark

    4. The garbage from the demolitions should be used to create fill for the much needed expansion of the ORIA runway, all at the cost of the developers who have to crush and prep the demolished concrete structures and put into the expansion area of the runway.

    Or we can do our normal and fight battles we will not win and end up with wall to wall 10-storey buildings, no beach access or view of the ocean.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The big difference here between Watercolours and Lacovia is that one is a residential condo (Watercolours) whereas the Lacovia units will be more like a hotel/daily rentals.

    I cannot imagine on that beach how those people renting those units are going to feel comfortable. This is larger than the Marriott and and will be extremely taxing on the beach and will become another blocked access like the RItz and Marriott to walk on the beach.

    • Anonymous says:

      WaterColours is a hideous solid block of concrete that fails to adopt a staggered design as per planning regulations. This is just a case of rich people complaining that somebody now wants to build beside them. Cry babies.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry AL”T and gang have got that big rubber stamp ready! “Approved!”

  33. Anonymous says:

    HILARIOUS! The multi-millionaires next door are complaining so ironic

  34. Anonymous says:

    Think this will be a great modern addition to SMB with an internationally known architect

  35. Anonymous says:

    Breaking news: Pot calls kettle black. LOLS!

  36. Anonymous says:

    ‘Has caused outrage among wealthy neighbours on the famous stretch of beach.’ LOL, if that’s not karma I don’t know what is. So these rich people who have salted money away on these islands are now seeing the value of their offshore property investments collapsing. There’s a two word response to that. It goes, ‘Tough ****’.

  37. Here we go.... says:

    I don’t object to older developments being demolished to build new ones. But there has to be stricter limitations. I don’t think government factored in the possibility of numerous developments doing so in close proximity to each other. We’re going to look like Miami Beach in no time if that happens! West Bay Road is still only two lanes and a turning lane last I looked. How can it possible accommodate more residents coming and going from their beachfront condos??

  38. Anonymous says:

    Who’s behind this Bronte Development?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Demolition fee should be astronomical in the absence of a proper disposal site. Developers shouldn’t assume that taking debris to the Dump is granted.
    No pools should be allowed for beach front properties.
    Noise and light pollution as well as overcrowding significantly decrease quality of life and detrimental to health and longevity.
    There must be capacity study with each new development.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I find it funny that the Monstrosity next door is complaining about the Monstrosity coming. Guess Monsters don’t like company. When is enough or development on SMB going to be enough?

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly!! Watercolours was the first 10 story tower to be built and now they don’t like it in their own backyard.

      No sympathy from me.

    • Anonymous says:

      “When is enough or development on SMB going to be enough?”
      Never, as long as we have greedy self-serving leadership!

    • Anonymous says:

      When is it going to be enough? Never, unless we get smarter leadership.

      • Anonymous says:

        The only way we are going to get smart leadership is if the developers lose their total control over both Caymanian political parties. They have everyone in their pockets.

        A Green Party is needed to bring this place into sustainable development.

        • Anonymous says:

          10:32 Where will the Green Party make their MONEY.

          • Anonymous says:

            Maybe they think different

          • Anonymous says:

            There are many Caymanians and expats who are totally fed up with the way things are going on island. They have money and would seriously support sustainable development, renewable energy and eco tourism.

            Many people do not want to duplicate South Miami Beach on Grand Cayman.

  41. Born Caymanian4 says:

    HA HA! SO, when these wealthy neighbors were building their homes along our beaches (blocking beach accesses) and WE, THE CAYMANIAN PEOPLE complained, we were considered the whiners, the losers, the fish fries! … Now, bigga fish comes along, and you wealthy elite crying foul :))

    Aaaaaahh yes, this must be karma.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seconded. Support LOCAL.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ borncaymanian4, Don’t you just love the hypocrisy? Caymanians were historically mocked for trying to protect the same elements that the “privileged” in the world moved here for. Now that over development is on their doorstep the entire community must be invested in the opposition. God I love reading those CPA objectors letters from wealthy folk ! Especially against WRB development. The Cayman Islands cannot be all things to everyone.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Wait till the proposal for the new 50 storey building comes in from Dart next year. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

    Have a hard time feeling sorry for the Watercolours people as they obviously were not too concerned about what it did to Lacovia when it was built. Their site was over developed if ever there was a case of over development. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander Watercolours people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excuse me? Lacovia would have had the same opportunity to raise concerns when Watercolours was at the same stage…. But they didn’t because they knew this was coming. It is not a new thing.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Basically oversized US style project housing on the beach.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Greed runs the show around here!

  45. Anonymous says:

    This is ridiculous and utterly depressing. Please stop this before it goes too far. We are not Florida. 7-mile beach is not nor should it resemble Miami beach. You our decimating our home. This is unsustainable and is ruining he beauty and charm of our island paradise. Every time I read of a development like this my heart sinks a little further. The people of Cayman do not want this.

  46. BeamontZodecloun says:

    At this very pivotal point in our history — which might already be too late — we have to decide if we’re going to throw away everything good about Grand Cayman and become a little Miami, or if we are going to retain our identity and preserve what is left of the splendour and beauty of our natural resources.

    We are already far beyond what was beautiful even 25 years ago. NO more people, NO more towers or monuments to construction excess.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Oh the irony, 10 storey Waterclours and Jackson Law object.

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